Archdiocese of Chicago making masks optional at schools not covered by local mandate

Announcement comes after Queen of Martyrs principal removed after ending mask mandate
CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Archdiocese of Chicago will make masks optional in schools in areas not covered by a local mandate starting on Thursday.

In a letter to parents send Tuesday night, Archdiocese of Chicago Superintendent of Schools Greg Richmond announced that cases are low enough to make masks optional.

"Currently, we have no classrooms in quarantine anywhere in our Archdiocese and we have no schools that have more than 3% of their students currently testing positive," Richmond said. "In fact, nearly half of our schools are reporting no cases at all. This has been a dramatic drop within the past few weeks.

Queen of Martyrs principal removed by Chicago Archdiocese for ending mask mandate

Masks will still be required in areas where there is a local mandate, including Chicago, Oak Park and Evanston. Masks will be optional for schools in Lake County and most of suburban Cook County, the superintendent said.

In schools where masks are optional, students coming out of isolation and quarantine must continue to wear a mask for five days.

Richmond said the Archdiocese will monitor schools and may go back to wearing masks temporarily if there is a significant increase in COVID levels.

The announcement from the archdiocese came after a principal at a south suburban Catholic school was removed for ending the mask mandate at his school.

It's unclear if Queen of Martyrs principal M. Jacob "Doc" Mathius was placed on administrative leave or fired. The Archdiocese of Chicago would only say that they do not discuss personnel matters.

Meanwhile, the Ardiocese of Joliet has also moved to a mask recommended policy.
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